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Syria talks end in Geneva without solution

Last Updated: Friday, January 11, 2013 - 23:47

Geneva: International envoy Lakhdar Brahimi expressed little hope for a political solution for Syria anytime soon after meeting today with senior Russian and US diplomats trying to bring an end to the civil war, which has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

Brahimi, who is the joint UN-Arab League envoy for Syria, spent the day at the United Nations` European headquarters meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns.

"We are very, very deeply aware of the immense suffering of the Syrian people, which has gone on for far too long," Brahimi told reporters. "And we all stressed the need for a speedy end to the bloodshed, to the destruction and all forms of violence in Syria.

But he acknowledged that "if you are asking me whether a solution is around the corner, I`m not sure that is the case."

Brahimi had led them off to lunch after more than an hour of closed discussions, with Bogdanov and Burns talking among themselves as they and their entourages navigated the UN corridors. But after meeting for about four hours, the talks ended this mid-afternoon without any apparent deal. Bogdanov and Burns left without making any public comment.

Russia has blocked several UN resolutions aimed at pressuring Syrian President Bashar Assad, but Moscow says it is not propping up his regime. Recently, top Russian officials have signaled they are resigned to Assad eventually losing power.
But Brahimi defended Moscow`s role.

"I`m absolutely certain that the Russians are as preoccupied as I am, as preoccupied as the Americans are, by the bad situation that exists in Syria and its continuing deterioration," he said. "And I am absolutely certain that they would like to contribute to its solution."

Brahimi said the foundation for a political solution continues to be the agreement reached among major powers in Geneva in June, which called for creation of a new governing body for Syria that would "exercise full executive powers" during an unspecified transition period.

"And we agreed that full executive powers means all the powers of state," Brahimi said of today`s discussions. "I will continue to engage all Syrian parties as well as other stakeholders in the region and internationally."


First Published: Friday, January 11, 2013 - 23:47

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